Getting from Cancun to Merida is incredibly easy, and you won’t have troubles finding a suitable way, no matter what your budget of favorite means of transportation is.
Merida is one of the most popular places to visit in Mexico. With beautiful colonial style buildings and gorgeous churches, the most important city in the Yucatan Peninsula is a great starting point to explore Chichen Itza and other Mayan ruins in Mexico; to visit Mexico’s best cenotes (in fact, some of the most impressive cenotes are located near Merida); and a great place to enjoy Mexican cuisine. You really should include Merida in your Mexico itinerary!
Looking for the best way to reach Merida from Cancun? Continue reading: I have done the trip a bunch of times and can share all the information you need to plan your trip!
Make sure to read my posts The Best Things To Do In Merida.
The Best Ways Of Getting From Cancun To Merida
Getting from Cancun to Merida by ADO bus
One of the best ways to travel between Cancun and Merida is to take the ADO bus. Though Mexico may be better known for its colectivos, ADO buses provide a much more comfortable way to get from A to B. Much like a coach or bus in the States or Europe, this is Mexico’s leading bus company.
They offer a professional service, you can book tickets online, and you can opt for different classes – regular class bus, or a first-class (primera) bus. There’s also another service, ADO Platino. This is pretty much an executive level bus. For the price you get a blanket, you get food, and you even get a leather seat – for that added luxury, in case you want it.
In Merida there are multiple bus stations where you may arrive – the main ADO terminal in the city center is at Came, but there’s also one in the Hotel Zone called Fiesta Americana, and in the north of the city there’s Altabrisa. A good tip is to check with your accommodation which of these is closest to where you’re staying before you make the bus journey.
Depending on where you are stopping, the bus ride takes between four and five hours, and travels 305 kilometers (189.5 miles). Buses are fairly frequent, running from Cancun to Merida every 45 minutes. They depart from the Central Bus Station in Cancun, or from Cancun’s airport.
The first bus of the day departs from Cancun City at 00:25 am; the last one is at 23:07. This means you can leave (and arrive) basically whenever you want, depending on your schedule of course. There are two buses from Cancun Airport to Merida, both leaving at 16:15 pm from Terminal 2: one goes to Merida Altabrisa and the other to Terminal Paseo. They stop at terminals 2 and 4 before making their way to Merida.
The prices of ADO buses go from 506 Mexican Pesos (that’s $25.2 USD) to 828 Pesos ($41.30 USD).
One tip for those looking to take the ADO bus is that if you book it in advance, you can find cheaper rates for the journey – you may pay as little as 267 Mexican Pesos ($13.3 USD).
You can check the timetable of buses traveling from Cancun to Merida on the website of ADO. The site is in Spanish only, but easy to understand.
You can book your bus to Merida from Cancun here.
Getting from Cancun to Merida by car
If you were wondering, yes – It is possible to self-drive from Cancun to Merida. It’s possibly the most convenient way to get around – it’s faster, and it’s flexible, meaning you can travel at your own speed (literally). And the drive is along an easy to follow, well maintained highway.
It takes around three hours and 45 minutes to drive it if you go direct; longer if you plan on making some stops.
Renting a car in Cancun is easy. There are plenty of domestic and international chains, both in town and at the airport. It’s great for traveling at your own pace, and it gives you more scope for exploring along the way in case you want to make a detour or two.
To check out the prices of car rental in Mexico, click here.
It costs between 200 and 500 Mexican Pesos (between $10 and $25 USD) per day for car rental in this part of Mexico – that’s for a medium-sized car (four-door sedan). The longer you rent it for, the cheaper it will be. And if you book further in advance than your arrival in Cancun, you will probably get money off.
Make sure that the car rental company you are using is trustworthy or reputable – watch out for any scams relating to insurance or damage to the car on your return. Make sure you take photos or a video of the car before you leave, pointing out existing damage to the staff member. The best option, however, would be to go with a globally recognized franchise.
Getting from Cancun to Merida by private transfer
If you don’t like driving, or just don’t want to, but you still would like to get to Cancun in a quick and flexible manner, it’s possible to get a private transfer. Hiring a driver in Cancun offers up convenience and speed – they’ll handle your luggage, pick you up from your accommodation, and drop you off exactly where you need to be.
There’s no fussing with rental car companies, or the stress of driving yourself. And there’s zero hassle with working out how to get from the bus terminal to where you’re staying in Merida.
The only thing about private transfer is that you pay for the convenience. It’s not exactly the cheapest travel option in Mexico. For example, a private transfer in a minivan with your own driver will cost around 7500 Mexican Pesos (around $375 USD). Expensive for one it may be, but if you’re in a group – say there’s nine of you (fitting in the minivan perfectly) – it becomes much more affordable.
There’s a load of different options when it comes to private transfer companies in Cancun. Even though it initially seems the most convenient option, all the different companies and choices can make your head spin.
The best thing to do is to go with the most reputable company, making sure that you read reviews beforehand. Most vehicles should usually have AC, seatbelts, be fairly new, in good shape, and be insured. Good companies will even have bilingual staff, as well. You could even opt to stop off and see sights along the way, too.
Getting from Cancun to Merida by Uber
Yes, there’s another way to get to Merida from Cancun on four wheels, and that’s with the help of an Uber.
Uber first became a thing in Cancun and the rest of the Yucatan Peninsula in 2016, but services were suspended in December 2017 following protests from the local taxi unions. Following a federal judge ruling, Uber started operating again in June 2019 and is now widely used throughout the Yucatan Peninsula and can be easily acquired for the relatively long ride between Cancun and Merida.
Ubers are not permitted at Cancun International Airport, so you’ll have to pick one up when you’re in town rather than straight after stepping off the flight.
You could also opt to get a taxi. Though perhaps slightly less reliable than an Uber, you may be able to get a better deal with a taxi driver for the long-distance route. Just make sure you agree on a price before you set out.
It costs around 4500 Mexican Pesos (around $225 USD) for an Uber journey from Cancun to Merida. Again, though more expensive than a bus fare, it can easily be split between a group of friends. It’s a bit like the cheaper option of hiring your own driver.
Getting from Cancun to Merida by plane
And then, of course, there’s flying. If you’re flying into this part of Mexico, it’s highly likely you’ll be flying into Cancun International Airport. But if your final destination is Merida, then you’re in luck – you can simply hop on a flight without having to go into Cancun to seek out transport for onward travel.
Flying is by far the quickest way to travel between Cancun and Merida. Flights between these two destinations are run by MAYAir, and they depart once per day from Monday to Friday. The only other option in terms of flying is taking a connecting flight via Mexico City which may be cheaper than a direct flight, but it doesn’t make sense as it takes longer than driving.
You can book flights online. Using a service like Skyscanner may yield better results and good deals, especially if you are looking for a flight well in advance of your planned trip – last minute flights can also be cheaper too.
All in all, however, flying to Merida from Cancun doesn’t make much sense since it’s so easy and much more budget friendly to simply drive there or take the bus!